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Learning From Presidential History

February 27, 2018 5 minute Read
by Mike Hemphill
Lessons in leadership from the Presidential Leadership Scholars program: Session 1 in D.C.

Last week, the 2018 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) kicked off the fourth year of the program with a week full of sessions in Washington D.C. There, the impressive group of Scholars — comprised of doctors, veterans, corporate professionals, scientists, public servants, educators, and more from across the country — came together to embark on a six month journey to collaborate and make a difference in the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Here's a recap of the week:

  • Scholars saw first-hand the collaborative non-partisan values with which the PLS program was created including: a conversation focused on women’s leadership with Margaret Spellings — former Secretary of Education, former President of the Bush Center, and current President of the University of North Carolina— and Stephanie S. Streett — former Director of Scheduling and current Executive Director of the Clinton Foundation— moderated by Tobi Young — former Special Assistant to President and Associate Counsel in the Office of the White House Counsel in the Bush (43) administration, and current General Counsel, Staff Secretary, and Secretary of the Board at the Bush Center.
  • Anita McBride — former Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to the First Lady Laura Bush who also served in the Bush (41) and Raegan administrations, and current Executive-in-Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University — introduced Sylvia M. Burwell — former Secretary of Health and Human Services who also served in the Clinton administration, and current President of American University — who spoke with Scholars about her experiences in leadership from her positions in the White House to university president.
  • Scholars learned about presidential history — at the White House Historical Association where they toured the Decatur House and learned about Washington’s leadership style and impact on defining the role of our country’s chief executive by Richard Norton Smith; at the National Archives where they gained a historic context of presidential leadership by examining the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States of America; and from Lonnie G. Bunch III, the Founding Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, who spoke about his love of history and his vision in building the museum.
  • Scholars heard from Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group and noted philanthropist, David Rubenstein, who challenged the Scholars to continue their commitment to make this world a better place — this conversation was moderated by Ken Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center; they examined the process of value-based decision making with former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Economic Policy and Director of the U.S. National Economic Council and Lecturer of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Keith HennesseyMichael O’Leary of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University led the Scholars through a conversation and exercise on the importance of a leader listening.
  • The 2018 class joins an active network of 181 Scholars who are applying lessons learned through the program to make a difference in their communities in the U.S. and around the world, and throughout the program, Scholars will benefit from the continued engagement of that network. This week, Scholars worked with a small group of previous class members on the development of their Personal Leadership Projects — each designed to have a positive impact on social good.

Over the next six months, the 2018 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars will visit each of the four partnering presidential centers with unprecedented access to former presidents, their administrations officials, and the unique resources of the libraries to enhance their own leadership abilities in order to make a positive difference in the world. Look out for our next update from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas!

 

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org. For updates about the Presidential Leadership Scholars, use #PLScholars or follow @PLSprogram on Twitter.
This content originally appeared on the Medium page of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program.

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